There’s plenty to do in New Mexico in the wintertime, so long as you know where to look. The following is a list of fun activities to do in the Land of Enchantment when the temperature drops:
Skiing and snowboarding
New Mexico offers the best skiing and snowboarding south of the Rocky Mountains (and at the base of them, too). On average, New Mexico slopes get 300 inches of pure powder each season and more often than not, the sun is shining as you cruise down the trails (you can also ski by moonlight at Angel Fire Ski & Summer Resort). This season, the buzz on the slopes is all about the newly installed Kachina Peak chairlift at Taos Ski Valley, which summits at 12,450 feet, making it one of the highest chairlifts in North America.
When: Check your local ski area website for season dates.
Cost: Lift ticket prices vary. Check your local ski area website for details.
*Other winter sports
If neither skiing nor snowboarding is your thing, there are plenty of other ways to take advantage of the snow. Try inner-tubing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, ice fishing and ice skating. Learn more here.
34th Annual Red Rock Balloon Rally
The Red Rock Balloon Rally, held in Red Rock Park, is the second largest balloon event in the world (the first is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta) and offers visitors an up-close look at hot air balloons against a beautiful red backdrop. The event is free, though you may have to pay for parking.
When: December 5-7, 2014
Where: Red Rock Park, Gallup, NM
Cost: Free (though parking fees possible)
Learn more: www.redrockballoonrally.com
2014 Christmas on the Pecos
For a holiday-themed activity, take a brilliantly lit, twinkling cruise along the Pecos River in Southeast New Mexico. You board a riverboat and leisurely coast past 100 Carlsbad homes decked out in Christmas lights, farolitos, and holiday cheer.
When: November 28 — December 31, 2014
Where: Carlsbad, NM
Cost: Ticket prices vary. See website for details.
Learn more: www.christmasonthepecos.com
For another holiday activity, check out Las Posadas. It is a centuries-old tradition that takes place throughout Mexico and the Southwest, and began as a way for Spanish missionaries to teach illiterate Mexican natives the Nativity story. During the event, participants costumed as Mary and Joseph travel door-to-door requesting lodging (posada is Spanish for “inn”) and are denied hospitality until the final home, at which a celebration is had. The event is held in communities throughout New Mexico, usually on Christmas Eve or in the days leading up to Christmas.
Details: Since the tradition varies across the state, check your city or town’s website for details and information.
Jump into some hot springs (or outdoor hot tubs)
There’s nothing quite like soaking in Mother Nature’s hot tub or in one of New Mexico’s man-made spas as snow falls around you. There are many natural hot springs throughout the state, most of which are free or low-cost, and several resorts that offer outdoor hot tubs.
What are some of your favorite winter activities in New Mexico? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.